Tyson Fails to Deliver Knockout Ratings


Former heavyweight boxing
champion Mike Tyson’s reality series debut
failed to deliver a knockout ratings punch.

Animal Planet’s highly-publicized reality
series Taking on Tyson, which follows the
ex-fighter as he looks to become an active
player in the sport of pigeon racing, drew
560,000 viewers in its March 6 premiere,
according to Nielsen.

That was slightly below the network’s
February primetime average of 588,000
viewers and less than half the 1.5 million
viewers that Animal Planet’s most-watched
show, sophomore series River Monsters, averaged
during its most recent season.

The six-part
docudrama faced
stiff competition
from two other
cable series debuts
during its 10
p.m. timeslot. Lifetime’s
veteran drama
series Army
averaged 4.2
million total viewers
in its fifth season debut the same night, up
27% from its season four premiere.

A&E Network’s new scripted drama series
Breakout Kings drew up 2.8 million total
viewers in its series premiere, setting records
in key demographics including adults
25 to 54 (1.6 million viewers) and adults 18
to 49 (1.5 million viewers).

Despite the low Nielsen marks, Animal
Planet executives lauded Taking on Tyson’s
debut. The show did improve male viewership
for the female-skewing network. Tyson
drew 199,000 adult 25-54 male viewers, 47%
above the network’s primetime average,
network officials said.

“I couldn’t be more proud of everything
that’s gone into Taking on Tyson,” Animal
Planet Media president and general manager
Marjorie Kaplan told Multichannel News.
“The energy and enthusiasm from everyone
— including Mike — has been incredible.

“We had a solid start — the male numbers
alone were encouraging and nice for us
— but we’re hoping week two and beyond
will start to build,” she added.